In The News

Deforestation in Amazon Rainforest jumps 29 percent

Satellite data through the end of July 2013 show that an area half the size of Puerto Rico has been cleared from the Amazon rainforest over 12 months, according to The Guardian . The destruction marks a reversal in restoration gains seen in tree cover there since 2009. The Brazilian government reports that 5,891 square kilometers of the forest have been cleared in its Amazon regions, up 29 percent from the year before. The largest decreases were seen in Brazil’s Para and Mato Grosso states. Illegal logging as well as public infrastructure projects are expected to have contributed to the increase in deforestation. Despite the move upward, figures are still not as bad as they were in 2004, when almost 30,000 square kilometers of forest were lost.

Read More

Lake sediments offer evidence of past century-long droughts in California

Scientists at Cal State Fullerton have discovered that California has suffered from century-long droughts in the past, according to a release from the university. The findings indicate that the variability in wetness and dryness for the state has changed a lot in the past 3,000 years and that worse drought conditions could be on the horizon. Sediment samples collected from Zaca Lake in the Santa Ynez Mountains provided a basis for the investigation, with researchers dissecting chemical and physical characteristics from below the lake’s bottom. The samples were used to reconstruct the variability of past precipitation beyond what typical tree-ring records show.

Read More

Gallatin River watershed council monitors water quality in the nation's headwaters

Some portion of the water emptying into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River first passes through the Missouri River, which takes some of its flow from the Gallatin River near Three Forks, Montana. The Gallatin watershed is part of a region sometimes called the headwaters of the nation for its place far upstream of the country's major waterways. Though a healthy watershed is already vital to the rural agricultural lifestyle so prominent there, the people there have the added responsibility of being the first to see the water off on its journey to the Atlantic. "It seems like people here realize that water quality is really important," said Katherine Boyk, Big Sky Watershed Corps Member at the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council.

Read More